In less than 12 months, Seth Sentry has released his debut album This Was Tomorrow, had it feature on Triple J’s album of the week on its release, two singles featured on Triple J’s Hottest 100 of 2012 all while headlining his own Australian tours and performing in the US.
I sat down with the Melbourne rapper before he kicked off his first show of the Vacation Tour in Cairns to chat about his experiences as a rapper, touring the US, getting his licence, that hover board song and of course video games.
“I’m pretty good for video games at the moment,” laughs Seth as he holds his new Nerf Gun.
“I just play the fuck out of C.O.D [Call of Duty]. Online games are good because you get your replay value.”
Anyone who follows the rapper on Facebook and Twitter knows of his love of video games but it is clear his true passion lies within hip-hop.
“I’m biased cause I’m in it [Australian hip-hop scene] so it’s just a bunch of friends. It’s changed a lot over the years and it’s just grown exponentially every year,” says Seth. “It seems that it’s bigger and there are sub-genres now within hip-hop. Australian rappers are getting big festival slots, just look at Sixty  and stuff. It’s pretty fucking big.”
However, Seth wasn’t always open to telling people he was a rapper.
“It wasn’t like that when I was coming up. It was really underground,” he says. “I would never tell someone I was a rapper because they would be like ‘what the fuck’ and do that yoyo hand movement shit. It’s definitely changed dramatically since I first started rapping.”
Seth says he was always around hip-hop music when he was younger.
“My dad was a big Ice-T fan so he kinda got me into it. I’ve always been around hip-hop,” says Seth. “I remember writing down the lyrics to a Run DMC song on Video Hits or one of those things. Back when we didn’t have internet to check lyrics so I’d watch it, write down as much as I could and wait for it come back on next time.”
Seth’s earlier influences include heavier, gangster rap, the Wu-Tang Clan, Xzibit and Gravediggaz.
“Really raw, fucking rough sort of shit and then after that I got more into dudes like ASAP Rocky, El-P and the more spacey, creative shit.”
Growing up, Seth would write short stories when he came home from school.
“My mum writes and is really academic. She owns a bookshop so we were always around books and made to read as kids. So reading and writing was just something that we did. And I guess once I got into rap music, those two things kind of linked up.”
Seth says that when he listens to rap he likes to put on his headphones and go on a little journey with the rapper. That is something that he aims convey through his music.
“When I’m writing, I know the whole song. I know where it’s going. I’ve got the whole movie in my head, so I’m just trying to find the words to fill that in.”
Seth describes rap as a personal thing.
“It’s really character based and way more exposed,” he says. “I feel like with a band, you can kind of hide behind the band songs and I don’t think the lead singer gets as scrutinised as much as when you’re a rapper. It’s just you and your own experiences and so I guess it’s natural that every rapper is going to be different.”
Seth says that he likes to keep it pretty honest and based on his life.
“Even if it is a story, it still comes from a place, an experience that I’ve had.”
His song ‘Dear Science’ came in at #26 on Triple J’s Hottest 100 last year and everyone knows this as the ‘hover board song’.
When asked about it, Seth laughs.
“It’s a funny thing because when I wrote it, I wrote it really fucking quickly and I was like ‘oh man, there’s no fucking hover boards,” he says.
“It was one thought, wrote a song and didn’t think about it again. Then the album was coming together and it was like ‘I’ve got this hover board song’. So we recorded it but of course people like play it and play it and it seems like I’m just super fucking passionate about it, do you know what I mean? And really it was just a half an hour thought I had but it becomes this thing where it becomes like ‘fuck, this guy really wants a hover board.”
Despite this, Seth had a lot of fun filming the music video.
“There was an Asian DJ – well in my head he was Asian anyway,” laughs Seth. “There’s an Asian DJ that I play with my friend Benny and we just had to go really fucking over the top with it and that was my favourite.”
To support the release of his new single ‘Vacation’, Seth is touring regional Australia with pals Grey Ghost and Mantra on his Vacation Tour.
Seth says he enjoys interacting with the crowd on tour.
“I don’t know how to just do the same show day in, day out. I would get crazy bored with that,” he says. “I like taking the piss out of people, making new friends and making people part of the show. It’s fun for me. I don’t really know how it translates to them and I don’t really care to be honest. I just enjoy it.”
It is clear that Seth’s true passion is rap.
“I’ve never done it [music] for any reasons other than the fact that I like doing it and if I stop liking it then I’d stop,” he says. “I’ve never really struggled to break through; I never really wanted to be famous or even make money out if it.”
Despite this, earlier this year Seth was given the opportunity to travel to the US to tour with LL Cool J.
“It’s crazy,” he laughs. “The difference between their superstars and our superstars is so different. They treat them like gods over there. I was watching Ice Cube from side stage and it was fine – no dramas. Then LL Cool J rocked up and they cleared the whole fucking backstage out, cops came with like bulletproof vests and shit.”
He was also given the opportunity to perform on Jimmy Kimmel, which made him the first Australian rapper to do a late night talk show.
So what does the future hold for Seth Sentry?
“I’m halfway to getting my license. I did my hazard perception test and when it gives you the feedback at the end, I had ten fucking things I had done wrong. It was like ‘you need to work on not killing pedestrians’. I passed but I’ve still gotta do the actual test.
As for music, the video for ‘Vacation’ will be coming.
“Jeremy has something in the works. I don’t know anything about it yet. But he’s a fucking genius so I’m sure it will be fine.”
By Angela Ruggeri